Straight razor shaving has entered something of a renaissance. Despite having faded from common use with the dawn of the safety razor, a passionate wet shaving community kept it alive. With vintage enthusiasm having spilled into popular culture, straight razors have begun to grow in popularity once more.
Whether due to environmental concerns, a yearning for tradition or appearances in films such as Sky Fall, many people have decided to make the switch. However, it takes courage as it’s an almost alien practice today.
Once upon a time, our fathers and grandfathers would pass down the skill from generation to generation. Yet in the age of wireless charging and streaming, has the convenience of electric gadgets put us out of touch?
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Why Shave With A Straight Razor?
Learning to shave with a straight razor takes some practice, a little bravery and a lot of patience. We’ll endeavor to soften that learning curve as much as possible for a smoother transition.
Throwing away your cartridge multi-bladed razor and picking up a safety razor is already a big step in the right direction. However, if you’re not ready to jump right into the world of straight razors, double edge razors are a great stepping stone!
If you’re still undecided whether you should shave with a straight razor, there are a number of arguments that could sway you.
A Better Shave
Firstly, straight razors are known to provide a superior shave to all other alternatives. Indeed, some safety razor advocates may argue otherwise. However, a properly prepared blade provides the best possible shaving experience.
By having complete control over your blade, you’re able to work with your skin. You can shave just where it’s needed and at the right angle. Furthermore, the blade being larger, it vibrates less against the skin, which reduces irritation. Many people with extremely sensitive skin turn to straight razors because of the level of comfort it provides.
Environmental & Economical Concerns
Even safety razors produce some waste with their used blades. According to the EPA, over 2 billion razor blades are thrown away every year and the figure keeps climbing. This statistic includes disposable razors, cartridge and double edge razor blades.
Conversely, straight razors produce zero waste. By investing in a quality straight razor, you have a blade for life and will unlikely ever need to replace it. You just need to look after it and you’ll probably pass it down to your children.
Similarly, straight razors do have a large up-front cost. But even taking into account any strops or whetstones you purchase as well, a straight razor is cheaper in the long term. Unless you become a collector, you may not need to spend more than $200 – $300 in your lifetime.
Compare that to any other type of razor and the figure is considerably higher as you’ll always need to purchase new blades.
Learning A Skill (And Passing It Down)
Although you may get the hang of it in just a few shaves, straight razors can take years to truly master. Your ease with the blade will naturally improve as you progress. Over time you’ll realise that you have turned a daily chore into a veritable skill.
Furthermore, you don’t have to keep that skill to yourself. If you plan to have children or your son is coming of age, you’ll be able to teach him the skills you acquired yourself. Your razor could easily become an heirloom to him and his descendants that you could pass down. Before you know it, you’d be bringing old values back as your ancestors did before.
Alternatively, straight shaving is an excellent conversation piece and before you know it, you may have friends that show interest in learning too. Straight razors at any budget are an excellent gift and you can teach them what you know.
Your Own Pleasure
Shaving doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, straight razor shaving can become a genuine pleasure and an event to look forward to. Many straight razor enthusiasts shave in the evening so they can take their time to enjoy it rather than rush in the morning.
It’s the perfect excuse to set a little time aside to pamper yourself. A proper shave will eventually become a ceremony in itself and a meditative experience. Every step – from stropping the razor to preparing your face – builds up to the euphoric moment when the blade touches the skin.
Of course, if you don’t enjoy straight razor shaving, it can be an inconvenience. Therefore, perhaps you’d enjoy safety razors instead? You can retain that element of tradition and a superior shave with our safety razor guides.
Keen to jump right in and learn everything there is to know about straight razors? We suggest the following resources: